Joe D’Amato – The Emporer Caligula: The Untold Story AKA Caligula 2 (1982)

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from IMDB:

The deranged Roman emperor Gainus ‘Caligula’ (Little Boots) Caesar (12-41 A.D.) rules Rome with an iron fist and has anyone tortured and exectued for even the slightest insubordination. Mostly set during his last year of his reign, as Caligula loses support due to his brutal and crazed excess, a young Moor woman, named Miriam, becomes his lover while ploting to kill him to avenge the murder of a friend which Caligula was responsible for. But Miriam is torn between her personal vandeda against Caligula and her own personal feelings towards him despite his madness and debauched lifestyle of orgies and bloody torture murders. Written by Matthew Patay Continue reading

Stanley Kubrick – Barry Lyndon (1975)

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Synopsis
BARRY LYNDON is Stanley Kubrick’s epic costume drama based on William Makepeace Thackeray’s picaresque novel. It tells the story of a young rogue who wanders through life getting lost in various adventures, meeting his share of women and oddball characters. When Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal, trying desperately to maintain an Irish brogue) becomes jealous of Captain Quin’s advances on Barry’s beloved cousin, he challenges the man to a duel. Winning the duel, young Barry is forced to leave his home and his mother, and off on his adventures he goes. He meets thieves, lonely soldier brides, Prussian army leaders, and British widows, inventing new stories about himself at every turn of the road. BARRY LYNDON is lush and magnificent, sparkling with color, every frame reminiscent of the finest European art. The blues of the Prussian army uniforms and the reds of the British contrast sharply with the majestic green land and mountains in nearly every background. Kubrick often begins a shot close in, then zooms out to reveal the beautiful natural landscape and ornate rooms surrounding the now seemingly insignificant characters. With rousing performances from O’Neal, Marisa Berenson, Hardy Kruger, and Leonard Rossiter, jaw-dropping camerawork, spectacular natural lighting, and a marvelous classical-music soundtrack painstakingly put together by Kubrick, BARRY LYNDON is a dramatic romantic epic that may be Kubrick’s most beautiful film. Continue reading

Louis Feuillade – L’orgie romaine AKA Heliogabale [hand coloured version] (1911)

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Short silent epic from gaumont, hand coloured. The story of Elegabalus, one of Rome’s most vain, brutal, decadent and perverted emperors. Apart from his personality problems, things only really take a nasty turn for him when he sets lions on his guests at a palace party. After a couple of years, people (or at least the pretorian guards) are not going to stand for that… Continue reading

Enrico Guazzoni – Quo Vadis? (1912)

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Directed by Enrico Guazzoni
Scenario by Enrico Guazzoni, from a novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz
Amleto Novelli (Vinicius), Gustav Serena (Petronius), Amelia Cattaneo (Eunice), Carlo Cattaneo (Nero)

The birth of the motion picture epic is generally dated to the 1913-1914 Italian films Quo vadis, The Last Days of Pompeii, Cabiria and Cajus Julius Cesar, many of them based on a standard set of 19th century religious novels that would be made and remade over the next half of the 20th century. One of several specialists in the genre, Enrico Guazzoni filmed this second version Quo Vadis?, the prime exemplar of a subsidiary genre to “Life of Christ” films, one that might be called the “Christ vs. Caesar” genre. The title of this film means “Where are you going?” and the question is posed by the Ascended Christ to Peter in a vision as the latter departs Rome on the eve of an Imperial persecution. The main story, however, focuses on a Roman commander, Vinicius, who falls for a Christian girl, Lygia, and is so drawn into the underground Christian community, experiencing a personal transformation along the way. Continue reading

W.S. Van Dyke – Marie Antoinette (1938)

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With a seven-figure budget and veteran director W.S. Van Dyke at the helm, MARIE ANTOINETTE is one of the most opulent period dramas produced in the golden era of Hollywood. The film chronicles the life of the 18th-century queen, following her emotional transformation from childhood as a young Austrian princess to her last days in the court of Louis XVI before the French Revolution. Led by the talents of Norma Shearer as Marie, John Barrymore as Louis XVI, and Tyrone Power as Marie’s childhood friend and aspiring lover, Count Axel de Fersen, the film exposes the power plays and chicaneries of the French court, painting the Duke d’Orleans as the villainous source of Marie’s public relations tragedy. With the extravagance of the court matched vociferously by the extravagance of the production, a romantic score by Henry Stothart, and a strong performance from Shearer, MARIE ANTOINETTE is a quality period drama. Continue reading